New York Medical College observed Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, with two reflective and thought-provoking events. On May 4, the College hosted an evening of interviews and perspectives, moderated by Professor Anne Bayefsky, director, Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and included psychiatrist, author and notable NYMC alumnus, Robert Jay Lifton, M.D. ’48; Dr. Mark Hasten, chairman of the Board of Trustees; Rabbi Moshe Krupka, executive vice president, Touro College and University System; and Edward Halperin, M.D., M.A., chancellor and chief executive officer. On May 5, Mel Urbach, Esq., a lawyer who has devoted his career to helping Holocaust survivors and their heirs recover funds, art and artifacts stolen during the years of Nazi terror, spoke on the significance of this unique occupation. View the photo gallery here.
NYMC Holocaust Remembrance
The May 4th observance presented three singular perspectives on the Shoah, each offering the audience a distinct way to remember and consider the Holocaust. Dr. Lifton, interviewed by Dr. Halperin, discussed his approach and work on the book, The Nazi Doctors. In this Holocaust study, Dr. Lifton explored the biomedical vision and ideology behind the Holocaust by examining how doctors who are trained to heal used their powers to destroy. Dr. Mark Hasten, himself a member of the Polish-speaking brigade of the Red Army who participated in the liberation of the Majdaneck Concentration Camp, presented the experiences and lessons of a young boy who witnessed and lived through extraordinary horrors and whose spirit and determination led him to remarkable life in the United States. Before closing the program, Rabbi Krupka offered the vision of a first generation survivor, whose life has been profoundly shaped by the experiences and path of his recent ancestors, and who is dedicated to giving meaning to their suffering and to their commitment to their heritage and people.
Recovering Nazi Looted Art: The Last Prisoners of the Shoah
The following evening Mel Urbach, Esq., a Touro Law Center graduate introduced to the audience by Robert Amler, M.D., M.B.A., vice president for government affairs and dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice, discussed his ongoing work recovering art and artifacts that were systematically looted from the victims of Nazi persecution—from a class action lawsuit against Swiss banks by Holocaust survivors and their heirs, to the recovery of approximately 50 fine European porcelain figurines to the inheritors of Emma and Henry Budge. To Mr. Urbach, the son of a holocaust survivor, working to recover and return “the Last Prisoners,” as the art and artifacts are called, to their rightful owners is a meaningful and just process in rebuilding the past.